Lot 110
  • 110

Umbrian School, 14th century

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
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  • Umbrian School, 14th century
  • A triptych: The Crucifixion (central panel); Saint James the Greater, Saint Sebastian (?) (left wing); a Bishop Saint (San Savino?), a Deacon Saint, perhaps Saint Laurence (right wing)
  • tempera and gilding on panel


Incisa della Rocchetta collection, Rome, 1979;

Anonymous sale, Rome, Christie's, 26–27 May 1981, lot 213 (as Scuola Veneta del Secolo XIV), for Italian Lire 45,000.000;

Where acquired by the present owner for the Palazzo da Grado, Mantua.


F. Todini, La pittura umbra dal Duecento al primo Cinquecento, Milan 1989, vol. I, p. 359, reproduced in black and white, vol. II, p. 201, fig. 426 (as Perugian painter close to Pellino di Vannuccio, c. 1370).


The arched tops and the two fatter ‘columns’ either side of the central panel, are original. The gold leaf was laid over a thin pinkish clay brushed onto the same gesso as used for the painting. The sides and bottom of the frame as well as the small twisted ‘columns’ were added at some point after 1981. The larger original side ‘columns’ were gessoed and gilded at the same time. The paintings have become very worn, and have been extensively restored more than once. Where the painting has not been restored, the original paint has the close, fine, craquelure pattern typical of aged tempera. Parts of the picture have been recently repainted or reconstructed. These include the head of saint James in the left wing, the head of Christ and much of the cross, the angels around him and the leading mounted soldier on the right in the central panel, the head and robes of the bishop saint and saint Stephen and the gold around them in the right hand panel, are all recent. The remaining figures and much of the gold have scattered areas of wear, loss and repair of a more localised nature especially along the lower edge. The flower painting on the reverse is not original and was probably added before 1700. There has been some recent lifting and paint loss to the right of the figure of Christ in the central panel and to the robes of saint Stephen in the right wing.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Although catalogued by Federico Zeri as from the Veneto, this triptych was published by Todini as a work by an anonymous Umbrian painter datable to the second half of the fourteenth century.1 Indeed Todini attributed it to a Perugian painter close to Pellino di Vannuccio, who worked in the gothic tradition in Perugia during the last quarter of the fourteenth century, and dated it to about 1370. Following first-hand inspection by Gaudenz Freuler, he too agrees that the triptych could originate from central Italy – Umbria or the Marches – rather than the Veneto. The facial types, decorative elements, and the structure of the triptych itself are not Venetian. On the evidence of photographs taken when this altarpiece was last offered for sale, the framing elements were considerably altered after it left the Incisa della Rocchetta collection.

The triptych was acquired by the present owner, who assembled a splendid collection for the Palazzo da Grado, Mantua. Pieces from the collection, which included sculpture, maiolica and furniture, were offered in ‘Splendours of a Mantuan Palazzo’, part of the Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art sale that was held in London at Sotheby's on 5 July 2016. One of the highlights from the same Mantuan palazzo – a pair of Italian Renaissance cassoni – featured in the Treasures sale the following day.

1. See Todini 1989.